Landcare's Megan Rowlatt has won a national award after cracking one of the volunteering sector's great mysteries: how to enlist young people.
Ms Rowlatt, from North Wollongong, created Illawarra Youth Landcare to draw in altruistic types who were keen to become involved in bush regeneration but unsure about connecting socially with the existing, older, volunteer pack.
Since mid-2009, 70 young volunteers have joined the group. They use social media to learn of planting and other events and choose which they will attend.
Ms Rowlatt, 30, is a paid Landcare community support officer who volunteers her time for the youth as a sideline.
She accepted the Young Landcare Leader Award as part of the the organisation's national conference in Sydney on Tuesday night.
"One of the common messages that I was getting from people already involved with Landcare was that there were no young people volunteering. They were concerned about who was going to continue the work that they'd invested in from 10 or 20 years," Ms Rowlatt said.
The youth volunteers are aged from their late teens to early 30s and will travel to Wombeyan Caves in the Southern Highlands this month for the group's annual overnight excursion.
"It's about creating a variety of opportunities and making [the work] a bit more exciting," Ms Rowlatt said.